Sen. Menendez 'convinced' he'll be exonerated in bribery trial

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NEWARK -

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez says he's convinced he'll be exonerated of bribery and fraud charges.

Jurors finished their second full day of deliberations in Newark on Wednesday without a verdict.

Outside the courthouse, the New Jersey Democrat said he feels he'll be acquitted based on the evidence the jury has heard, and that "will be worth waiting for."

“The jury has a lot to go through and so I understand they are being methodical. I would suspect earnest to their oath,” Menendez said. “After 2 1/2 years of living through this odyssey, waiting for the jury is not something I worry about.”

RELATED: Menendez trial jurors leave early to avoid traffic

The jury has asked one question so far during the deliberations, asking about the definition of a senator, as put forth by Menendez’s attorneys during closing arguments. The judge declined to answer the questions because only testimony given during the trial is able to be read back. But the question could seem to indicate at least one of the jurors is thinking about his defense team’s arguments.

RELATED: Why juror’s ‘senator’ question gets to heart of Menendez case

Jurors didn't send any evidence-related questions to the judge Wednesday, but asked to be excused an hour early to avoid traffic in Newark.

A juror who had a pre-existing scheduling conflict could be excused if the jury doesn't reach a verdict by the end of Thursday. In that case, an alternate would replace her and deliberations would start over.

The Democratic senator is charged with accepting gifts from wealthy friend Salomon Melgen in exchange for using his political influence. Deliberations began late Monday afternoon.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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